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View SleepingFox's profile

Why Won't My Planes Work On Hardwood?

by SleepingFox
posted 09-18-2018 12:49 AM


26 replies so far

View Mr_Pink's profile

Mr_Pink

164 posts in 765 days


#1 posted 09-18-2018 12:53 AM

Have you tried taking a lighter cut? What happens if you back the iron up so it won’t cut, and then slowly advance the iron until it just barely cuts?

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

22991 posts in 3077 days


#2 posted 09-18-2018 01:14 AM

And…don’t go against the grain….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View SleepingFox's profile

SleepingFox

23 posts in 325 days


#3 posted 09-18-2018 01:19 AM



Have you tried taking a lighter cut? What happens if you back the iron up so it won t cut, and then slowly advance the iron until it just barely cuts?

- Mr_Pink

This seems to have helped but I’m not sure if it has completely fixed the problem. I can now get the plane to slide across the wood without skipping however what I end up taking off is more like sawdust than shavings. I’ll keep messing around and give them both a fresh sharpen to see if I can get this sorted.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1308 posts in 833 days


#4 posted 09-18-2018 01:52 AM

My eyes are not so good so I made a “grain direction detector” to help me find grain direction. I asked my wife for a piece of nylon stocking. I rolled it into a ball and stuck it in the end of a piece of wood dowel. When I want to see which direction the grain is going on a piece of wood, I simply rub the nylon along an edge. It will catch on the fibers sticking up when rubbed against them. Works pretty good. Saves digging up the fibers with the plane for the most part.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#5 posted 09-18-2018 02:04 AM

‘Sharp’ that fails against hardwood ain’t sharp. Harsh reality, and one huge reason I love working with pine. Lawl.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View JayT's profile

JayT

6211 posts in 2605 days


#6 posted 09-18-2018 02:20 AM


I can now get the plane to slide across the wood without skipping however what I end up taking off is more like sawdust than shavings.

- SleepingFox

That’s a sure sign of not being truly sharp.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1900 posts in 2577 days


#7 posted 09-18-2018 02:33 AM

+1 to all the others saying, “not sharp enough.”

How are you sharpening the blades? Sandpaper, stones, something else? Any of the various ways works, so choose one and work on getting the back of your blades flat, an even bevel, a wire burr at each grit before moving on, and a strop to get it mirror sharp.

If you’re looking for a simple and reliable sharpening method, look up Paul Seller’s videos on sharpening.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View QuangFromCalgary's profile

QuangFromCalgary

35 posts in 3392 days


#8 posted 09-18-2018 03:51 AM

If it produces something like saw dust, then I am pretty sure it is not sharp enough. That happened to me too when I started. Please do the sharpening again. Then take very light shave at beginning, go with the grain. I believe you will find the magic of shaving the wood by hand plan. It is addictive…. :)
Good luck.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1413 posts in 3155 days


#9 posted 09-18-2018 08:37 PM

Two hints.

1. When sharpening, periodically take a close look at the edge under magnification. A cheap 10X (10power) jeweler’s loupe for around $5 to $7 should do the job. This will enable you to REALLY see what you are doing to the edge. Very educational!

2. Try taking a SLICING cut with your plane by holding it at a slight angle to the work when planing, roughly 30 degree angle or so.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9578 posts in 1532 days


#10 posted 09-18-2018 08:47 PM

Don’t take this the wrong way but, your blades aren’t upside down are they? :-) Just gotta check… you wouldn’t be the first. Make sure your bevel is down (assuming BD planes…)

If not, then yup. Sharpen them suckers up some more.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

725 posts in 1370 days


#11 posted 09-18-2018 09:11 PM

you know its sharp enough when you shave the hair right off of your arm

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#12 posted 09-18-2018 09:15 PM

Sleepingfox ain’t regarding any of this, apparently. Oh well, good advice nonetheless.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View RPhillips's profile

RPhillips

1260 posts in 2230 days


#13 posted 09-18-2018 09:27 PM

Blaster, Nice tip on the stocking! I may be utilizing that myself as I still have a difficult time identifying grain direction.

SleepingFox, Google “Scary Sharp” sharpening technique… as everyone mentioned, you ain’t sharp yet!

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1413 posts in 3155 days


#14 posted 09-18-2018 09:40 PM

That’s true corelz125! That is the ultimate test and the one I always use.. I made a set of 62 wood carving gouges a couple of years ago (http://lumberjocks.com/Planeman40/projects) and the final test on each one was shaving the hair off my forearm. I had bald forearms in those days!

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1900 posts in 2577 days


#15 posted 09-18-2018 11:54 PM

I prefer to use my fingernail to test the edge. My arm hair must be perfectly coifed for me to get my “look”.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1880 days


#16 posted 09-18-2018 11:56 PM

If something that is supposed to make a shaving just makes dust. It isn’t sharp.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

725 posts in 1370 days


#17 posted 09-19-2018 12:35 AM

dont have to limit the hair to your arms for the metro sexual guys you can do your eye brows or chest.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1569 posts in 2124 days


#18 posted 09-19-2018 03:40 AM

Sleepingfox, maybe you forgot to plug it in…....... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

826 posts in 2893 days


#19 posted 09-19-2018 01:32 PM

Did you verify the bevel angle?
On a bevel down plane, there must be a relief angle between the wood and the iron. Otherwise, the iron might just be skidding on the wood which one would try to correct in taking a heavier shaving and pressing the plane down but with poor results. Pressing down will work to some extend in soft wood but not in hard wood.
Relief angle might disappear with improper stropping technique (rounding the edge).

other useful info:
setting-your-plane-after-sharpening

sharpening

No need to press down with a well sharpened iron (IMHO it would not work without a relief angle).

Diagnostic. Without a relief angle, one would set for a thicker shaving and press down with the following result:
when starting to plane (soft wood) in the middle of the board, the plane would take fine shavings but starting at the edge of the board, the plane would try to take a heavy shaving needing a heavy push forward.
(don’t ask…)

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View SleepingFox's profile

SleepingFox

23 posts in 325 days


#20 posted 09-19-2018 03:37 PM



Sleepingfox ain t regarding any of this, apparently. Oh well, good advice nonetheless.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

Not True. Just been a little busy and haven’t had time to implement all this advice yet.


+1 to all the others saying, “not sharp enough.”

How are you sharpening the blades? Sandpaper, stones, something else?

- shampeon

I tape sandpaper to the top of my table saw and use one of those rockers that holds the blade a consistent angle (forget the name of them right now).

@Blaster, how does that thing work? I’m guessing the stocking catches when you run it against the grain but runs across the wood smoothly when going with the grain?


Sleepingfox, maybe you forgot to plug it in…....... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

You’re right, I definitely didn’t plug it in.

View SleepingFox's profile

SleepingFox

23 posts in 325 days


#21 posted 09-19-2018 03:52 PM



Did you verify the bevel angle?

- Sylvain

Not in a while but when I built the quick stop for my shapening guide I’m pretty sure I made it to sharpen to 25Deg with a 30Deg micro bevel. Thanks for all the info

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16130 posts in 3012 days


#22 posted 09-19-2018 07:54 PM


Sleepingfox ain’t regarding any of this, apparently. Oh well, good advice nonetheless.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

Not True. Just been a little busy and haven’t had time to implement all this advice yet.

- SleepingFox

Warms my heart, it does. Hope you find something helpful.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2288 days


#23 posted 09-19-2018 08:37 PM

Did you verify the bevel angle?

- Sylvain

Not in a while but when I built the quick stop for my shapening guide I m pretty sure I made it to sharpen to 25Deg with a 30Deg micro bevel. Thanks for all the info

- SleepingFox

Sounds like you’re not getting that microbevel as sharp as you think. You don’t need a 5 degree difference, all you need is about 2. No matter what, make sure it is like a razor. One way to know if it’s sharp enough is if you cut yourself and never feel it. I don’t recommend doing that, but ask my box of band-aids about it.

Also – cherry should be a joy to plane. I work with mesquite a lot, which is extremely dense and the grain is ridiculous. The first time I ever used cherry I thought I was cheating, it was so easy to work.

Try this nonsense with any bench plane and see how much hair you have left afterward. Hello, card scraper!

Maple is also not difficult plane (unless it’s birdseye.) Oak can give you trouble when it’s QS, otherwise, it’s not a bear to work with.

Keep at it, you’ll get there.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1900 posts in 2577 days


#24 posted 09-19-2018 10:09 PM


I tape sandpaper to the top of my table saw and use one of those rockers that holds the blade a consistent angle (forget the name of them right now).

Ok, so the next question is: to what grit?

The one after is: have you flattened the back?

The way I used to do it when I was doing something like this is to establish the bevel with 120 and 400 grit paper. Then flatten the back, keeping even pressure across the blade. For a plane blade, flatten the final half inch or so, you don’t need to flatten the entire back. Use a sharpie to mark it with Xs, then flatten it with 120 until you can’t see them any longer. Remark them and do it again. You’re trying to see that you’ve got an even surface. Then move on to 400, doing the same sharpie X thing. See how the light reflects off the back, and you’ll be able to see if it’s flat. It’s critical that the final 1/2” or so is dead flat so the chipbreaker seats evenly and firmly on the back of the blade.

Once you’ve got an even back with 400, start polishing, roughly doubling the grit. E.g. use 1000 grit wet/dry. Spray some water or Windex on the paper to float away the particles and clean the paper. Then do the same with 2000 grit. The back should be shiny and flat now from edge to edge.

Go back to your guide and work on polishing the bevel. This should go pretty quickly. You won’t need many passes to remove the scratches and get a wire burr. Remove all the scratch marks from the 400 with 1000 grit, and you should feel the wire burr on the back of the blade. Turn it around and remove the wire burr on the 2000 paper. Then polish the bevel with 2000 until you again feel a wire burr. Again, remove it by rubbing the back against the 2000.

If you want a micro-bevel, you can now add a very small one with 2000 grit.

This is where I move on to a leather strop with green polishing compound. Do a couple passes on the back, then the bevel, then the back once or twice more to remove any wire burr. The edge and back should be mirror shiny.

Before you go back to planing, run the edge of your chipbreaker along the 2000 grit, with the end of the chipbreaker slightly below the level of the flat surface. This creates a flat, even edge that will mate with the back of your blade with no visible light passing through if you hold it up to a light. This is key.

Mate the chipbreaker and the blade with a very small gap between the edge of the back of the blade and the edge of the chipbreaker, and reinstall it into your plane body. Rub some wax or 3-in-1 oil on the sole of the plane, adjust the blade so it’s even from side to side, and retract it until you can’t see when holding the sole up against a light source. Then start planing, advancing the blade little by little until you’re making shavings.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

725 posts in 1370 days


#25 posted 09-19-2018 11:41 PM

Are the corners still on the iron? Is it cambered?

View Richard's profile

Richard

11274 posts in 3427 days


#26 posted 09-19-2018 11:47 PM

I agree with most Others. Your Sharp isn’t sharp enough!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

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